sorcerers_stoneIt’s almost that time…back to school for all…and the learning begins! Please find listed below a short list of books for those anticipating, excited about and patiently waiting for that first day of school. These would be great books to read the day before school starts – or at bedtime the night before. What better opportunity to spend time with your child than a family trip to the library in search of books to prepare for the new school year? Enjoy and feel free to comment with YOUR personal favorites to share!

Chrysanthemum
by Kevin Henkes Greenwillow
Ages 5-8
Chrysanthemum was perfect, her life was perfect, her family was perfect, and her name was perfect. This is what she thought until she started school. When Mrs. Chud took roll call everyone giggled hearing her name. “I am named for my grandmother” said Victoria, “You are named for a flower.“Chrysanthemum wilted.” Now she hated her name. Henkes has an ear for the language of children and an empathetic ability to describe and provide solutions to the overwhelming issues of early childhood. His sweet illustrations of charming mice lighten the drama and provide comic relief. Look for his other award winning picture books Owen, a 1994 Caldecott Honor Book; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse; and Julius, the Baby of the World.

A Fine, Fine School
by Sharon Creech, illustrated by Harry Bliss HarperCollins
2001
Ages 5-8
Mr. Keene was a principal who loved his school. He would wander around peeking into classrooms and pondering aloud, “Aren’t these fine children? Aren’t these fine teachers? Isn’t this a fine, fine school?” In fact according to Mr. Keene the only way to improve this fine, fine school would be to have school every day. School on Saturday then school on Sunday, then on holidays, even on Christmas and Chanukah. The humorous illustrations portray our heroine, Tillie, wearily trudging endlessly to school under her over-stuffed backpack, covered with yellow post-it notes stating, “Massive test on your birthday” and “gym test today.” Tillie’s brother, who doesn’t go to school yet, isn’t learning the things only Tillie can teach, like skipping, and her dog, Beans hasn’t learned how to sit. Something must be done, and Tillie is just the kid to stand up to Mr. Keene.

Ramona the Pest
by Beverly Cleary Morrow Jr.
Ages 6-10
Grown-ups will remember the experiences of this outrageous kindergartener’s first days in school. Like when Ramona is told to “wait for the present” and is sure there will be a present for her soon. It is a rule-of- thumb that children want to read about characters the same age or older than themselves. Ramona is the exception to that rule. The first of eight Ramona books, this classic novel of five-year-old Ramona Quimby’s unique point of view is a delightful read-aloud for children who are looking back on their own experience starting school.

Starting School With an Enemy
by Elisa Carbone Knopf
Ages 8-12
Fifth grader Sarah’s family has moved her kicking and screaming from their home in Maine to Maryland. Not only does she have to go to school and be the “new” kid but she has already made an enemy of a sixth grade bully. He pushes her, teases her, and embarrasses her in front of all the other kids. Retaliating just makes the situation worse. Sarah’s obsession to get even almost costs her the friendship of the one girl she is getting to know. This insightful, humorous school story will appeal to the fans of Louis Sacher and Jerry Spinelli.

A Year With Butch and Spike
by Gail Gauthier Putnam
Ages 8-12
Jasper Gordon is the perfect student and he anticipates that this year will be no different. Teachers love him, he always gets great grades, and he is pulled out with the other really smart kids for “enrichment.” Then he meets his sixth grade teacher, Mrs. McNulty. She seats him between “the Cootches”— cousins Butch and Spike Couture, the kids with the worst reputations in school. Although Jasper has an almost scientific interest in them as subjects of observation, he is horrified to be sitting next to them. Butch and Spike are bad kids without malice in the tradition of the Herdmans from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. An exaggerated look at friendship and fairness, this book will have everyone rooting for the Cootches in the end.

Other “Back to School” books you may want to read:

Arthur’s Back to School Day, Marc Brown
Arthur’s Teacher Trouble, Marc Brown
Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books , Diane deGroat
David Goes to School, David Shannon
First Day Jitters, Julie Danneberg
Franklin Goes to School, Paulette Bourgeois
Froggy Goes to School, Jonathan London
If Everybody Did, Joann Stover
It’s Hard to Share My Teacher, Joan S. Prestine
Leo the Late Bloomer, Robert Kraus
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes
Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10, Kevin O’Malley
Mistakes that Worked, Charlotte Jones
My Teacher Sleeps in School, Leatie Weiss
Never Spit on Your Shoes, Denys Cazet
Nobody’s Mother Is in Second Grade, Robin Pulver
Owen, Kevin Henkes
Recess Queen, Alexis O’Neill
Summer’s End (good for 2nd grade), Marybeth Boelts
The Awful Aardvarks Go to School, Reeve Lindbergh
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon, Mike Thaler
We Share Everything, Robert Munsch
Wemberly Worried, Kevin Henkes
What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Marc Teague
Will I Have A Friend? Miriam Cohen

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